Catholic World News

President Obama cites religious freedom 14 times in prayer-breakfast address

February 07, 2014

In remarks delivered during the National Prayer Breakfast on February 6, President Barack Obama referred to freedom 17 times, 14 of them in reference to religious freedom.

“Now, here, as Americans, we affirm the freedoms endowed by our Creator, among them freedom of religion,” he said. “And, yes, this freedom safeguards religion, allowing us to flourish as one of the most religious countries on Earth, but it works the other way, too -- because religion strengthens America. Brave men and women of faith have challenged our conscience and brought us closer to our founding ideals, from the abolition of slavery to civil rights, workers’ rights.”

“So many of you carry on this good work today -- for the child who deserves a school worthy of his dreams; for the parents working overtime to pull themselves out of poverty; for the immigrants who want to step out of the shadows and become a full member of our American family; for the young girl who prays for rescue from the modern slavery of human trafficking, an outrage that we must all join together to end,” he added.

We “believe in the inherent dignity of every human being -- dignity that no earthly power can take away,” he continued. “And central to that dignity is freedom of religion -- the right of every person to practice their faith how they choose, to change their faith if they choose, or to practice no faith at all, and to do this free from persecution and fear … So promoting religious freedom is a key objective of U.S. foreign policy. And I’m proud that no nation on Earth does more to stand up for the freedom of religion around the world than the United States of America.”

President Obama also discussed his own conversion to the United Church of Christ.

“In my life, He directed my path to Chicago and my work with churches who were intent on breaking the cycle of poverty in hard-hit communities there,” he said. “And I’m grateful not only because I was broke and the church fed me, but because it led to everything else. It led me to embrace Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. It led me to Michelle -- the love of my life -- and it blessed us with two extraordinary daughters. It led me to public service. And the longer I serve, especially in moments of trial or doubt, the more thankful I am of God’s guiding hand.”


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  • Posted by: Defender - Feb. 07, 2014 5:02 PM ET USA

    Is this the same UCC that, in July 1993, "criticized Bill Clinton for failing to sign an executive order opening the ranks of the military to practicing sodomites and heard a speech from...Desmond Tutu urging an end to all discrimination "on the basis of race, culture, gender or sexual orientation." It also endorsed a "multicultural" church.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Feb. 07, 2014 3:54 PM ET USA

    Mr.Plick: You are, nonetheless, allowed to judge Obama's actions and to compare them with his words. I think it painfully obvious after doing so that a man, Catholic or not, who truly had embraced Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior would hardly defend killing millions of the children God created, yet that is exactly what Barack Obama has done for many years. Ergo, the man is either delusional or a case-hardened hypocrite. And that's not being judgmental; it's simply sizing up reality.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Feb. 07, 2014 9:11 AM ET USA

    President Obama has not now or to my knowledge ever has claimed to be "Catholic.," and as Paul admonishes us not "to judge outsiders" and as it has become public knowledge that for the most part the Bishops of the United States have allowed the wholesale degradation of Catholic teaching in the Catholic hospitals I cannot "judge him (the President)" for any of his remarks but rather as an adult confirmed Roman Catholic and as a professed lay Franciscan must judge the Bishops for passive apostasy.